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Writers in information and communication studies often assume the stability of objects under investigation: network nodes, databases, information. Legal writers in the intellectual property tradition often assume that cultural artefacts exist as objects prior to being governed by copyright law. Both assumptions are fallacious. This introduction conceptualizes the relationship of legal form and cultural symbol. Starting from an understanding of copyright law as part of systems of cultural production, it is argued that copyright law constructs the artefacts it seeks to regulate as objects that can be bought and sold. In doing so, the legal and aesthetic logic of cultural symbols may clash, as in the case of digital music (the central focus of this special issue).
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Keywords: Copyright; aesthetics; authorship; legal object; logic of law; production of culture

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Law, Business School, Bournemouth University, Poole, Dorset, UK 2: Department of Geography and Environment, London School of Economics, London, UK

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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